Marlborough nurse works to improve the quality of pain management
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – For those who suffer from chronic pain, everyday life can become a challenge. All areas of life can be affected – from relationships to physical movement to participation in social activities. Chronic pain is a debilitating condition for the millions of people who live with it.
Dr. Alex Lickerman, M.D., wrote about patients with chronic pain in the April 27, 2011 publication of “Psychology Today.”
“I have a small cohort of patients who suffer chronic pain so intense and unremitting it prevents them from living normally,” the article says. “They often don’t work, shop, go to restaurants or movies, leave their homes or sometimes even their beds except to visit doctors, or have meaningful relationships outside their immediate family, who often struggle to live with and care for them.”
Marlborough resident Margaret (Peggy) Flood, RN-BC, MS, AOCN, is dedicated to ending needless suffering from persistent and acute pain and to improving the quality of life for all people affected by pain.
Flood earned a nursing degree from Newton Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing in 1974. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Boston University School of Nursing in 1986, after which she earned a master’s degree from UMass. School of Nursing in 1992. In 1998 she attended a program at City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital in Duarte, Cal., to become a pain resource nurse. She is board certified in both oncology nursing and in pain management through American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC).
While Flood worked at Newton Wellesley Hospital, Leonard Morse Hospital (which became MetroWest Medical Center) and the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Central MA., it was at Emerson Hospital where she secured her roots. As a clinical oncology nurse specialist, she developed and implemented a successful Pain Resource Nurse Program (2002), providing in-house consults for patients and assisting physicians and nurses in developing treatment plans for patients in pain. She remained coordinator of this program until her retirement from Emerson Hospital in December of 2011.
“My recommendations often included multimodal treatments,” Flood said, “a mixture of interventions including medications, therapy, relaxation techniques and counseling. I have seen Reiki (a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing) work, and what speaks to me a lot is guided imagery. Interestingly, there are a variety of integrative treatments such as acupuncture and hypnosis which can work for some people.”
Dedicated to educating both professionals and the public on improving pain management, Flood joined the Steering Council of Massachusetts Pain Initiative (MassPI). This statewide, nonprofit volunteer organization aims to educate doctors, nurses and other health care providers about state-of-the-art pain management and works to raise community awareness about pain.
In 2006 Flood received a Certificate in Advanced Pain Topics from Tufts University School of Medicine.
Flood has been the co-chair of the Education Council (EC), which is part of MassPI, since 2011. Along with educating healthcare professionals, the council has been charged with raising community awareness about pain, the EC informs the public about pain through the Pain Resources Education Project (PREP), which offers a free public education program to community and nonprofit organizations.
Through a qualitative research study that focused on the lives of 10 people living with chronic pain, Flood learned a great deal about how to best counsel family members (of sufferers). The best advice she said, is this: “It is important to listen to the sufferer and to hear what he says, but the most important thing you can do is to believe what he says.”
“It is incredibly important not to take a person’s independence away,” Flood added. “When this is done, it takes away the person’s sense of accomplishment.”
Following her retirement from Emerson Hospital, Flood started her own education business for healthcare professionals and patients. She will be presenting a program titled “Managing and Understanding Pain” at Emerson Hospital Health and Wellness Center, 310 Baker Avenue Extension, Concord, from Sept. 26 to Oct. 17. It will run from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 1-978-287-3777 or 1-800-439-0183. In addition, she will be running a seminar titled “Care of the Patient in Pain at end of Life” at the Holiday Inn in Marlborough Oct. 5. It will be held from 7:30 am. to 4 p.m. To sign up, go to http://masspaininitiative.org.
The MassPI’s efforts have included the creation of a resource list of pain clinics in Massachusetts: http://masspaininitiative.org/.
To learn more about complementary therapies, contact the National Cancer Institute at its toll-free number (1-800-422- 6237) or visit www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/therapy/CAM.
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